Feb 23, 2010

I think it's coming...maybe....

Spring! My daffodils are blooming all over the yard! But it's still been mostly grey and cold out. No matter, I still decorated the mantel as if it was here. It makes me feel cheery! A couple of items up there are from our world travels. A bird embroidery in a hoop from China. A pear shaped container made out of coconut wood from Thailand. Spring makes me think of warm weather and travel. Happy places and memories with people I love. Tulips are my favorite, but they die so quickly, I put fake ones up for most of the season. It still makes me happy!
But it's been too cold to play outside much. I found this careful lineup after I sent Hunter off to school this morning. He left his monster trucks carefully lined up on his bedroom floor this morning. Finding these little arrangements when he is gone warms my heart. I love seeing evidence of his little personality lingering around when I miss him throughout the day.

Feb 22, 2010

Snow Day!

We took Hunter skiing last week for his first time. He did pretty well, and by the end of the day could snow plow to stop and he was figuring out how to turn. Of course he only went down the little bunny slopes. He took a little class and then tried some with Daddy when Daddy came back to check in. So what did Ainsley and I do? Well, obviously I can't ski right now, and Ainsley is too little, so we did things like taste snow.Then we built a little snowman and tried tasting him as well. Hunter also helped build the snowman. He took frequent breaks from skiing.
We also brought a little toboggan so that they could play on that during the day too.
Hunter and Ainsley quite enjoyed this. I was talking to Ainsley about her new baby sister. Here are her thoughts: Some are quite funny!

Feb 13, 2010

To My Valentine

Once upon a time, we used to write letters to each other. Lots of letters. Copious letters. I have them all saved in the wooden box the tea cup is sitting on. We were just dating and I worked at a camp for the summer and didn't have phone or internet access. Thus, writing the old fashioned way. I lived for those letters and received one almost every other day. Since those first letters, Tone has written me letters and notes for birthdays, valentines, and anniversaries, and I have all of those too. He's not a very verbal man in expressing love, rather he expresses it much better with his actions, but for some reason, he writes me the best letters. His letters can fill my "love cup" for months. Mine just aren't as good. So sometimes I use the poets to express myself.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight.
For the ends of being and ideal grace,
I love the to the level of everyday's most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love the with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seem to lose with my lost saints
I love thee with the breadth, smiles and tears of all my life!
And if God choose,
I shall but love the better after death.

~Elizabeth Barrett Browning, "Sonnets from the Portuguese, XLIII"

Explaining

Hunter is full of wonder and excitement over his new baby sister. Both he and Ainsley love to come up and talk to her, pat my tummy, giggle about a new baby sissy, and tell me all the things they are going to show and teach her.

But Hunter is smart enough to figure out that I have concerns about her. So we had a talk a couple weeks ago. Not wanting to hide what was happening, I also wanted to inform him in a way that was easy and not scary.

I told him that little sissy might need to come out earlier because she had a bump on her bottom that the doctors needed to take off. He said, "Oh, like Auntie Shari's back surgery?"

I said, "Yes, just like that, and then she'll be OK."

He giggled. He thought his little sissy was awfully funny with a bump on her booty. Just like we giggle at Ainsley when she does something silly.

Then I told him that she might have to come out a little early and be too little to come home right away. She might have to stay at the hospital for a while so she can get bigger. Hunter understood that.

After some thought he asked me, "But Mommy, did Jesus make her that way?"

I told him, "No honey, when Jesus makes things, He does a perfect job, but remember there is someone who ruined that. Do you remember who and when that happened?"

He said, "Oh yeah, in the Garden of Eden, Satan came, people chose to do bad, and now the world isn't perfect anymore."

I said, "That's right, now the world is messed up and bad things happen, but who is still more powerful and takes care of us?"

He said, "Jesus."

I said, "And who will be taking care of sissy for us to make sure she is alright?"

He said, "Jesus."

Then he was happy and changed the subject. No one in this family has much fear for her anymore. We just love her. We talk about her, her silly "bump", the silly things babies do, and how fun it will be to have a new sissy. We know Jesus is taking care of her, and we have peace. Just this morning Daddy and Hunter where laying next to me snuggling before we got up in the morning and both of them felt her for the first time kicking around. Hunter thought it was the greatest thing! Ainsley kept on kissing her and patting her.

She told me that she is going to "wock her and wock her and sing to her because she's owh, so cwute!" Hunter and Ainsley are so excited, and I really feel that this one completes our family perfectly.

Speaking of peace, I met with her surgeon yesterday. Dr. Hodge will be removing the tumor right after birth. I immediately felt God's provision within minutes of hearing him speak. He was knowledgeable and experienced with these kinds of tumors. His detailed explanations were clear, he was very confident and answered all my concerns before I even asked them. Apparently he is a top surgeon at Children's Hospital and has been doing surgeries for over 30 years. He explained before, during, and after the surgery, and has not had complications with any of these tumor removals afterwards. He said that he won't have to do a blood transfusion during surgery and that it should relatively easy for him to remove. He is going to take out the tailbone so that there is almost no chance of the tumor returning, and he expects that the only thing leftover from this ordeal with be a scar. Little girl is in good hands with an expert doctor for her right in town.

Feb 10, 2010

A Garden Full of Promise

So these popped up this week in our front yard. My irises should not be blooming yet, but with the unseasonable cold we had early in the season, they were tricked into popping up early. They sure smell good! But as I bent down to take these close pics, I was struck by how beautifully designed they are. God did really good didn't He?When he designs something, I guess He doesn't skimp on the details.
Wow! I'm glad I stepped in closer for a peek.
There are promises of spring all over my garden. It looks dead on the surface, but underneath, there are buds and shoots getting ready all over the place.
Here is another beautiful design who joined me in the garden. I guess God didn't skimp on her details either. Every day I am delighted with the little facets of her personality.
I guess I should clean out the bird bath and get it ready for spring. The daffodils behind it are about ready to pop!
The first to peep out are my crocus bulbs. But they are so short and small, and close to the ground, I have to purposely search for them. Kinda like a little private surprise. Likewise, I think people are full of tiny little surprises if you look close and are searching.
These two beauties below are full of those little surprises. I just have to look close and be purposeful about discovering who they are. It's the part of being a mom that brings the most joy. Details. Like the fact that Hunter thought the best place to pose was on the edge of the bathtub (when kids are ready to pose, you run for the camera and don't argue). That he thought slicked hair and a tie made him handsome for church (I don't have the heart to share with him my opinions on "nerdiness"). The fact that he threw his arm around Ainsley, and as I type this he is happily teaching her how to throw a beach ball with many compliments for her (never mind that it's in the house). It'll be exciting to see who God is designing with baby number 3! Details. God doesn't skimp on the details. He does beautiful work. Sometimes you just have to bend in close.

Feb 8, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's day is coming, and love is in the air!
Here is my sweet younger sister, Krista, and her fiance, Thomas. I promised to post some photos of this photo shoot I did for them and never did....life kinda got busy over the holidays. We went downtown and got some great shots by the railroad tracks, and old brick wall, and down some alleyways. I wanted them to kiss through the fence, and they were totally cracking up. This pretty much sums up their relationship...always cracking up. They were fair game for pretty much any pose I threw at them. We had a lot of fun, and my gorgeous, tall, blond sister could pretty much dazzle every photo. For more kissing photos, head over to the I heart Faces blog:


Feb 3, 2010

But I didn't want to join the club.....

I gotta be honest. This parenting road is a roller coaster. There are days when I want to pull my hair out when I deal with a five year old and a two year old and I often take parenting for granted. In fact, this last week, it's been even harder to be patient and kind when you are trying to talk to doctors and two kids are fighting loudly in the background. I felt as if I was slapped in the face when I was forced to reevaluate the gift of parenthood and children this week. When faced with news of something very wrong with your child, it's a foreign place. I feel like I joined a club I didn't want to join, but I know that there is a lesson for me to learn and live for others through this whole thing. I mean who really wants to join the club that makes you feel like you are living your own Discovery Health Channel special?

The genetic specialist called today and said that while she knew we didn't want to "terminate", her superiors where making her call and find out before she set up all the appointments for us for doctors and specialists. She apologized, and she was sure what our answer would be. It almost made me think that the committee that approves all of our specialists outside of our insurance group was making sure that they really had to spend the money. But I saw our baby girl suck her fist, yawn, and I feel her wriggle and kick, and I can't imagine...the thought is horrifying.

I do feel really at peace right now. I just have a knowing that our daughter is going to be fine through all of this. In no way do I take for granted my two beautiful healthy children we have already been given, and in no way, do I take for granted the gift of one more precious daughter.
In many ways, I feel that God has been prepping my heart for this for some time now. I have watched and grieved with various friends as they deal with the death of a child, infertility, and the heartache of a wayward child, and I do not take for granted the fact that He has given me much already. I am no more deserving that anyone else.

One night over the summer I had a dream that my children were killed in a car accident, and there was nothing I could do but watch. I woke up in sheer panic and terror. It was so vivid and real. I had never had a dream like that before.
I laid awake praying, "God don't ever take my children."
And I felt the question, "But what if I do?"
Then I prayed, "Then don't let them feel pain."
And I felt the question, "But what if I do?"
I laid there begging Him, and the panic did not subside, because I knew God was not promising me that.
Finally, I felt the question, "Would you still trust Me?"
And for a few minutes I wasn't sure what my answer would be.
Finally, I decided that I couldn't say anything but "yes", knowing that God cared for them more than I ever could, and He would take care of them, comfort them, and heal them when I cannot.
Immediately peace washed over me, and I have never felt that kind of fear again. A clear picture came into my mind of a strong hand closed over mine and I fell right to sleep. I have no doubt that this one way God was prepping me for what was to come. It is still so clear in mind and left such a strong impression.

And I know that when I come to God with an open hand holding out my most precious possessions, then I am at peace.

Easily said right? But I find that I still am on a roller coaster which bounces between feeling abundant love and feeling exasperation. Maybe it's because I'm the mom of two small children, I don't know, but the FEELING of being blessed at all times doesn't really last in my day to day moments. One moment, I think Ainsley is adorable because she just said THE cutest thing, and five minutes later I'm trying to control my voice and exasperation because I discovered she stole markers from the craft shelf and has been making a colorful rainbow all over her belly.
And when the whole day is full of these ups and downs, the house is getting destroyed faster than I can clean it up, and the sink is still full of dishes, I get to end and don't know whether to laugh or cry. I just fall into bed exhausted! So while the feeling may not always last, I want the underlying current to be a knowing of being blessed. No matter what. No matter what kind of day I had. These moments are fleeting and I am determined to enjoy every second of them. I find myself constantly reminding myself of this, and fighting against discontent. When I stop and really look at their precious faces, I am quickly jolted into the reality of what a gift I have been given. Oh the eternal struggle!

A custom order

Sometimes people ask me to do very special things for them. This order was one. I was sent the bottom of an heirloom vintage christening gown and asked to make the leftovers into baby shoes. The top was being remade into a gown for her own daughter's christening. She wanted matching shoes and a clippy with the remnants. I carefully cut out the ribbon, lace, and trim and reworked them into this pair of shoes. I even made a matching hair clip to go with it. Aren't they precious?

I was honored. A reminder that children truly are a gift from the Lord.

Feb 1, 2010

Good progress

This week one of the brightest rainbows I have ever seen seemed to end right at our house. The kids and I watched it as we drove all the way home. I ran in and I grabbed the first camera I saw lying around (unfortunately not my good one), and ran outside. By the time I got outside, it wasn't near as bright and the rain was starting again. But still, there was a bright rainbow coming through the clouds. Did I mention it seemed to end right at our house? God is a good God isn't He?

Good progress today.

I turns out that the doctor, the perinatologist, Dr. Woods, I saw on my last ultrasound; is well equipped to deal with our daughter's SCT unless it turns dramatically worse (in which case they'll refer me to UCSF hospital, 3 hours away). When I called today for more information, she was able to tell me what kind of teratoma (tumor) it was. It is external and is both cystic and vascular. This means that it is not reaching into her pelvis or abdomen. Many children born with an internal tumor have to cath to use the bathroom and could have hip problems because the tumor was in their abdomen. We are happy that it's not. The fact that it is both cystic and vascular seems to be common. This means that it is partly fluid (cystic) and solid (vascular with blood vessels through it which is harder on the heart). We are not letting the fact that it is partly vascular get us down. They will be carefully monitoring it of course to make sure that it doesn't over tax her heart. I was worried about our insurance group, Kaiser, not be able to give adequate care and not getting the referrals I need to make sure we get the care we need. My OB/GYN was filling out all the paperwork today to get all of my care turned over to Dr. Woods who is outside of Kaiser, but the only one local who is experienced enough to handle my case. Kaiser so far has done a wonderful job in the last two days getting a team in place to care for us. We have a genetic counselor who is our go-between to organize all the doctors, and handle any questions we may have. Tamera is very supportive, positive, and has been scurrying the last two days getting everything in place for us. In fact while I was talking to her on the phone, both my regular OB/GYN and Dr. Woods were calling/talking to her about me.

I also had questions about our daughter's care when born. Apparently our Children's Hospital of Central California here in Fresno has some of the best neonatal surgeons and a wonderful NICU, and our daughter is getting the best they have. He has extensive expertise in operations of this nature. I feel relieved. Fresno Children's hospital has some of the best care available across the nation I have discovered. There really isn't a better place for her, and best thing of all...it's local! We are in the right place. It would be so difficult to have a baby 3 hours away from where you live and to have to commute to see her with two other children at home. She will be taken to the Children's Hospital immediately after birth, so my goal is to recover quickly so I can go see her (I'll be in another hospital across town).
I think I mentioned God is good God, didn't I? Yes, we are so grateful for His provision for us today.

So now...we wait...and watch...and count the days to her due date. We are praying we can get as close as possible to June 16th, her due date. I am almost 21 weeks right now. Sorry for the rather poor picture that was taken of me this evening. This is what happens when your five year old son with a shaky hand wants to take the picture. You hand him the point and shoot and not the good camera. So I guess this is as good a picture as it gets for now. Here I am halfway through with this pregnancy. Yes, my low rise skinny jeans are still fitting and as comfortable as ever. I'm not really sure for how much longer.

Tone and I are close to a name for her. We are thinking about one in particular that we seem drawn to for a couple of days before we announce her name (just to make sure). We'll announce it soon.